Lok Sabha elections 2019: Ex-CM Hooda may contest Lok Sabha polls from Sonepat, say Congress leaders
Political analysts said that amid the internal rift within the Congress in Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda would become a strong CM contender from the party if he and his son win the two Lok Sabha seats.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda may contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Sonepat parliamentary constituency, Congress leaders familiar with the party’s poll strategy said on Sunday.
They said Hooda has expressed his desire to the party high command and was waiting for a final confirmation. Sonepat parliamentary constituency, with a majority of Jat voters, is considered the bastion of the former CM.
Of the nine assembly segments under the constituency, five had elected Congress MLAs backed by Hooda in 2014 assembly elections.
“Hooda has conveyed it to the high command, and there is a good chance he will contest from Sonepat seat. His candidature from there will also help his son MP son Deepender Hooda, who is likely to be fielded again from Rohtak. Sonepat and Rohtak are adjacent constituencies and a favourable wave for Hooda would yield a positive result for his son too,” said former state home minister Subhash Batra, who is now the national coordinator of All India Kisan Congress.
Political analysts said that amid the internal rift within the Congress in Haryana, Hooda would become a strong CM contender from the party if he and his son win the two Lok Sabha seats.
“It would be a good move by Hooda. Sonepat and Rohtak are his strongholds, so there is a high chance of victory. Winning Sonepat Lok Sabha seat will make him look stronger before the party high command. Even if Congress does not come to power in the state in 2014 assembly polls, he would be better off being an MP than an MLA,” said Rajender Sharma, the head of political science department at Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak. Congress MLA from Gohana, Jagbir Malik, who fought the Lok Sabha elections from Sonepat on Congress ticket in 2014, said he was not sure whether he would contest again. “It is all up to Hoodaji. Whatever he decides, I will follow,” he said.
On being asked if Hooda was going to contest the Sonepat seat this time, Malik said he could not say. “He (Hooda) is most welcome here. I’m sure he will win with the highest-ever margin if he contests,” said Malik, who had lost the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to Ramesh Kaushik of BJP by a margin of 80,000 votes.
The buzz about the former CM contesting Lok Sabha polls was set off after the Congress named Hooda as the chairman of its election coordination committee recently, though the decision was revoked on the same day. Hooda’s son Deepender was also a member of the committee. The list was later withdrawn allegedly as it upset Hooda’s rival factions in the Congress.
Meanwhile, the BJP and the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) are also reportedly considering to field high-profile candidates from Sonepat.
The Congress had also shocked the BJP during the recent Jind by-election when it fielded its senior leader and Kaithal MLA Randeep Surjewala for the bypoll. Asked if he was planning to contest the Lok Sabha polls, Hooda said it was up to the party to decide. “ I will do what the party high command wants,” he said.